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off the leash
  • lingmortonlingmorton
    Posts: 255
    i was watching some videos of shibas off leashes..
    Just wondering if any of you guys let your nihonken off the leash? and if you do, hows ur nihonken off leash?
  • wliu003wliu003
    Posts: 222
    for me, i probably wouldn't try it. heres my story.. she is extremely responsive when we are at home or in the backyard. this gave me confidence to think about trying it but i never got the chance to do it intentionally. One day the garage was open and she slipped out because a friend who was visiting did not know how to handle her. so she ran from my room to the garage area (where me and my roommate were washing our cars.) when i saw her i panicked and i yelled out her name, my volume may have scared her but she did not come to me. instead she avoided me and ran around the front yard. i could not get her to stop or to come to me. finally i calmed down a bit and keeled down and calmly called her over and she came. i panicked cause it was in the middle of the day traffic was probably at its peak. i was pretty terrified that she would run onto the street but thankfully she didnt. I am glad that she eventually came but this situation probably scared me enough to never try it.
  • brandon_wbrandon_w
    Posts: 3433
    If I had a big farm with a lot of land, I'd go off leash with my Shiba. However living in the city with lots of streets and cars, he stays on leash.

    The way Shibas were used off leash was not direct recall like a lab. When out hunting they spread out away from the owner and would come back in check in sometimes while out looking for the game. If you have a big dog park you can often watch your Shiba do this. Nemo takes off far away and then every few minutes comes close to check me out and goes back on the hunt. This behavior does not have good results in the city.
  • KFontaine04KFontaine04
    Posts: 1872
    I would never feel comfortable letting my Shiba's off leash. Miso has escaped a few times, luckily we were in a under populated area with no busy streets because we had to RUN to catch him, and lucky for us there was a kid with ice cream down the street and Miso stopped to ask for some!

    Sake could probably go off leash since she is still a pup, but I see more and more of her hunting drive kicking in so I wouldn't atempt it.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    I do some Obedience with Beebe. Start going to classes early and go to matches. Expose the dogs to different places so you can build up their ability to ignore distractions and focus on you. Let me tell you, that when the dog is in a familiar environment, they can be great and do off-leash work perfectly. The last few classes have been really amazing, no leash at all (inside a large building).
    However, once we go into a foreign arena or into a new park, FORGET IT! The dog has to have really good focus, and unfortunately, even months/years of full time training isn't going to be able to completely go against the breeds instinct to give chase and be alert to the surroundings instead of to you (at least with my Shibas).
    I agree, that for the vast majority of Shiba owners, on leash is a must when away from safely enclosed areas. Even after Beebe's training, I would still never dream of just letting her cruise next to me down a busy street off leash.
    If anybody happened to read the latest Shiba E-news, there is an article of a jogger type who runs off leash with his Shiba in Arizona, but he began training the dog to heel, sit, down, stay as reliably as possible off leash long before actually going anywhere, and he scouts the area before-hand to make sure there are no other dogs or escape routes/places to disappear.
    I think there was mention of a long training lead being used as tool also, which is a great idea for off-leash training and has helped Beebe to learn to stay within a certain range of me when running off lead.
    Also in the mag, which I found quite interesting, was a breeder in Alaska with his Shibas certified as therapy dogs, also with Agility, Versatility and Obededience titles (on Shibas!).
  • lingmortonlingmorton
    Posts: 255
    prior to getting our 1st shiba, in the the research we did, it always mentioned about not letting a shiba off a leash would prolly be the best idea.
    and i have never let any of my 3 off the leash, all 3 of mine are very responsive in the hse and yard, but when we are in the dog park, and they get excited (even by a leave blowing by), its like they suddenly become deaf to everything else. lol

    but as mentioned, i was watching these videos of Shibas off the leash, but the videos were short so im guessing the shibas were prolly off leash for that short period of time.
    i am just not a risk-taker when it comes to this though, (i have let my lab off the leash a couple of times, and i ended up chasing him 3 blocks :/)
    too dangerous!!!!
  • KissuiKissui
    Posts: 173
    I will let my Akita off leash oly if the area is entirely closed off. I learned my lesson the almost hard way once. As a puppy I would take her to a school basketball court and let her off leash. I would kick a ball around and she would chase it. We had a really good time with it and we would always be in the far off court. Well, she was growing and I underestimated her speed I guess. One day she decided she didn't want to play that game anymore and she bolted. She ran home and was sitting on my front porch. I am lucky she wasen't hit by a car. Never again.
  • tsukitsunetsukitsune
    Posts: 6468
    the shiba (red, named Suki?) in those videos is beyond well trained, though. She's CGC, Agility and Therapy Dog certified. Even then, I wouldn't risk it!
  • maxwellsmaxwells
    Posts: 347
    We do something kind of odd with Ichiro. Here’s the set up…

    There is an 8 acre lot directly across the street from our condo building downtown, right along the Chicago River. It’s been vacant for over 20 years and has become the local unofficial dog park. It’s 95% fenced, meaning there are two opening we all use to sneak in and *ahem* trespass with our pups.

    About 99% of the people there let their dogs off leash, as if it’s a traditional Chicago Dog park; only exceptions being people who prefer to walk laps around the site and not interact with the free range dogs. We bought a 30 foot cotton leash that everyone calls Ichiro’s kite tail and allow him to drag it without one of his people being attached to the other end.

    The thought behind this is there’s no way we can catch our little speed demon, but we CAN catch or step on the 30 foot kite tail! Our trainer recommended this as a way to skirt the leash laws in Chicago… “Honestly officer, he’s on leash and just got away from me for a moment!”

    That is as close as I'd ever get to 'off leash'.Jenn & Stephen (humans), Ichiro & Akira (shibas), Abraham & Anya (cats)
  • jakkiharejakkihare
    Posts: 74
    i let mine off sometimes..depending on where i am..a 10 min drive and we are out in the sticks so no roads im a dog walker so all the other dogs destract him...and they just run wild and play ive never found him to dissappear on the hunt for game.... yet!! his call back is really good but if he spies a person in the distance hill walking he will often try get close to them to suss them out and bark constantly at them which is embarrassing because he does NOT listen at this point..ahh!!
  • ZinjaZinja
    Posts: 200
    My Akita is great off leash and will ignore most dogs, squirrels, and birds... As long as we keep moving. She is great on parks and beaches too. Well, her first encounter with an armadillo on a hiking trail was interesting. I had to hold her from chasing it.

    My Shiba Inu will run away, but he walks very nice loose leash when hiking.

    It also depends on the handler. Ninja will listen best to my dad and me.
  • Made that mistake once after the dog park. We had been at the dog park for a good 2-3 hours and he was playing the entire time with a malinois. By the time we left he looked like he was sooooo tired, so how far could he go. There is a huge field and we started to walk through it and his recall has been good so I let him off the leash. Bad move, just as I let him off the leash three deer came out and it was on he was like a bullet. An hour later he came back to where it all begain, muddy, thorns and looked worn out. When he came back it was like nothing had happened just walked up to me and I put the leash in him and he looked at me like I was doing something wrong.
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    @steve67 just stood there and waited for him to come back?
  • InuzooInuzoo
    Posts: 215
    Made that mistake in my own back yard!! Though it would be fun to play catch without the 30 foot run but the minute I let her loose , zoomies galore. She got herself stuck under the deck,exit ores the garden, the shed, the compost pile, 2 hours later my son had to come and dive on her! It was snowing and I was freezing she was loving every minute of freedom. Recall did not work that day, nor treats, we even stood there watching her circle us thinking she would eventually tire. Nope she was exploring her own back yard. Now after her return home Saturday (see zooeys door bolt post) I don't dare try it in an un- fenced yard. I don't think I could take it! Haha
    Post edited by Inuzoo at 2013-02-11 14:34:02
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
  • 1. He was 13 months, his recall is a solid 95% of the time, shocking.
    2. This is not the first time I have let him off the leash, but this is the first time he was completly consumed.
    3. No I didn't just stand there, I called his name with no effect at all. then I followed untill he hit the brush.
    4. Yes it was the last time.
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    @steve67, is that 95% recall with distractions or without?
  • Distractions, I think realistically Leo(shiba inu) is more 90% & Clay(GS) was 99% of the time. Leo is a better listener in public than at home by far.
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    I didn't take my dogs off leash, I had them tied with string and they broke it and ran. Kaji came back immediately, but Taisho darted deeper into the woods. We finally got him when another person walking his two dogs came by and caught Taisho.

    Our backyard is part woods and we have a deck that is about 10 feet high. Taisho jumped from the deck stairs, sneaking under the stair railing and jumped outward over the fence, from about 6-7 feet high, onto limestone rocks and dirt. He's really lucky he didn't hurt himself. My son ran into the woods to get him, but luckily, being after 10pm, and Taisho being scared of the dark, he ran back towards our house and my son caught him. We lowered the railing the next day two inches and he hasn't been able to wedge under the railing. He sits at the top of the stairs, staring into the woods a lot now. I'm sure he'll find another way out in a few months.

    I'd have to be nuts or go through years of training in hopes that either dog might one day be able to walk without a leash. Even so, with our backyard and its distractions... it may never happen... :(
  • GatsuGatsu
    Posts: 651
    Guts and Gidget are the worst shibas I've seen off leash. But Guts has gotten a lot better. He usually comes when he is called, I've seen him run through the woods, and over 2 hills to get to me. I'll have to make a video of Me and Guts doing some off leashing by ourselves, he's Defiantly no Conker! But I think some of you guys would be surprised. Probably still think I'm irresponsible.

    With that being said I've seen a few good shibas off leash. Dave's Gin and Levi seem to be great off leash. Lucylu's Lucy is also very good. All 3 coming from the same breeder I believe.
    Post edited by Gatsu at 2013-02-11 23:37:46
  • LosechLosech
    Posts: 2516
    Yeah, Conker is definitely the exception to this one. He's better off-leash than on-leash.
    Post edited by Losech at 2013-02-12 03:23:55
  • lucylulucylu
    Posts: 500
    I would not use the word never. Maybe usually but not never. Like guts said Lucy is great off leash. Even on walks through the neighborhood, I can drop the leash and shell walk right beside me without venturing more than a couple feet off the sidewalk. Would I do this on a busy highway? Of course not, but in a residential area or for sure in a wooded field I have no problems letting her go.
  • lucylulucylu
    Posts: 500
    Also while guts runs around like crazy, his recall has gotten leaps and bounds better. He used to never come, now he does most of the time.
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    I hope some day I can trust Bear at least off leash enough to do sport activities like a lure course, an agility event, Rally (past novice level) events, ect ... all these are in distracting environments, but I do believe that eventually he can learn to work off leash for the short periods of time needed for these activities. I know the dream of ever trusting him off leash in other situations has a 99% chance of never happening.

    Even last night, he was very biddable during training. I thought our turn was over so we went to our chair and I pulled out a big old fuzzy tug reward toy for him to play with. This got him all hyped up as this is a special value toy. Our turn wasn't over and the trainer had us come back out to do another set of sequences and low and behold the zoomies occurred. They didn't last as long as other times, it still reminded me how high his play drive can be and once he escalates into "play" mode how long/hard it is to get his focus back and redirect him to "work" mode. I know he kind of got set up for the failure in this case though. I thought we were taking a break so I had rewarded him by allowing him to escalate into play mode on leash with the toy at the chairs and in the back of my mind knew he hadn't de-escalated enough to focus off leash yet when we were called back out to the floor.

    Tanjiro, I believe will be very trustable off leash if I ever need it, but then again he is still only a puppy at barely 4 months old, so hard to tell if there will be regression through his future growth stages as he learns some independence in adolescent stages. Unlike Bear, who we didn't get until 5 months old and hadn't been well trained-socialized by the breeder, we have the advantage of the earlier bonding with Tanjiro. At this stage Tanjiro even comes when called from across a dog park, so we believe our issues with him won't be anywhere near our fears with Bear.

    In all cases, because we live in the city and have no fenced yard, I don't see that I have reason to let them off leash, but I do want to assure if anything happens that I can keep them safe by having as reliable recall as possible even when they have escalated into play/prey modes. So that training will never end. :)
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    Post edited by Saya at 2013-02-12 13:21:22
  • micomico
    Posts: 242
    @ Losech, Suki's also better off her lead but we started working on her recall the day we brought her home and took her to training classes as soon as she was able to go out.

    She'll walk to heel when called back if there are people ahead with dogs I don't know and understands 'wait' if she's trotted too far ahead and waits for me to catch up and if she goes too far, especially when playing chase with other dogs, a 'what's this' and the treat bag held in the air is her signal to come back, usually followed by the other dogs who know me as the lady with the yummy titbits! Luckily no cars are allowed where I walk her in the week and the farmer is happy for the dogs to run across his fields which are fenced on the other side.
  • GemmaGemma
    Posts: 103
    I'm same as you @losech and @mico! On the lead laika will sniff EVERYTHING and try and wander into everyone's driveways. But off lead she'll toddle around, always keep up and never stray more than a few feet away from me. And even if she does stray a little too far, a simple whistle will stop her and a "Laika whats this?!" With a bit of cheese will have her running back. This is only ever on country lanes and round a resovoir though, I'd never have her off lead in a completely open field or near a road. But we are doing recall training every day, hopefully it will all pay off :)
  • AnnaAnna
    Posts: 621
    Hammond used to be allowed off-leash when he was younger. At a large, unofficial dog park I'd do the 30' tail thing, where he'd just drag a huge leash around.

    He was content to stick near other dogs, so the only problem was when a dog he was playing with was leaving, he'd follow them and recall would be poor. But otherwise he was young enough that he was happy to check in with me or come coming over when I called and offered a treat. Then as he got slightly older I left the leash off. Again, he'd stick with other dogs, sometimes chasing border collies up into the woods or father than I wanted, but he'd follow them back or come back when called.

    He started getting worse at listening, though, so he went back to the 30' tail.

    I'd do the same around my neighborhood. It's a quiet, secluded area even though we're right in the city. No major busy roads super close to the park area. I'd let him run free and drag his leash around. He'd chase a ball or attacking butterflies, but again, as he got older he got less and less interested in staying close or coming back immediately.

    Then one day a bird flew overhead and he was gone trying to hunt it. Did a lap practically around the block with my following him trying to get his attention. I knew I could never catch him, but we'd started agility by that point, so I knew he'd chase me if I could get his attention.

    Eventually he did pause, I did "Hammond, ready? Let's go!" and ran away from him. He sprinted and caught me and jumped all over me and I was able to grab his leash.

    So, no more off-leash or loose-leash for him, unless in a fenced yard or proper dog park. He's about a year and a half now and probably hasn't been off leash since early summer.

    I'd recommend a beginner agility class to everyone as emergency help, though. He's slipped his collar twice (after getting new martingales that weren't as tightly fitted as I thought) and he's pulled the leash out of my hands a few times as well. I always get him to come back by using the agility "Ready? Let's go!" and he chases me. Once he kept dancing away so I couldn't grab the leash, but I was able to get him to chase me back into my apartment, haha.
  • micomico
    Posts: 242
    @Gemma, maybe British shibas are better behaved!!
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    @mico, LOL ... are you implying those of us in the US just have "wild child" syndrome in our non-100% recall Shibas LOL :),
  • GemmaGemma
    Posts: 103
    @mico haha maybe! My breeder let her dog's off leash and someone who used to own them near me said hers were fine off leash too!

    @redcattoo maybe all this time we've been laughing at people's fox comments, but really all the US shibas really are fox crosses, or a "dox" as an uneducated man told me ;) and that's why they want to run free, their wild instincts lol ;)
  • NahatalieNahatalie
    Posts: 363
    How do you know when / if your Shiba is ready to be off lead?

    There is a fenced in orchard near us which we use for training. I put a 50ft lead on him and we walk the perimeter of the fence. Oki follows us and mostly runs ahead, but stays within about 60ft. We do some random recalls throughout and he stops and stares at us for often a full minute, then when he eventually comes he charges towards us with the biggest shiba smile. Is this just a Shiba thing? It just makes me nervous that his recall isn't quicker, but I know he's not a lab...if this is the best a Shiba will do then that's ok, but I won't know if he can put this into practise unless we let him go for real!

    We've also tried just randomly turning in the other direction and he does follow us. The problem we have, is if there's another dog walking on the outside of the fence with their dog, Oki abandons all dependence on us and runs off to play. He wants to play with EVERY dog he meets. When he's on lead he sometimes needs a bit of gently tugging to get him to come away from another dog. For this reason I've never let him off lead. I would love to one day though...just not sure how to overcome the not coming when other dogs are around (which is everywhere).

    To conclude, I really want to let him off lead but I am scared! I've seen many other off lead dogs who appear to do "eventual" recalls. And many others still that don't come back immefiately if they've just met another dog to play with. I'm not saying this is acceptable but I have not seen many dogs who are perfect at recall and ALL the dogs we see in most of the place we go are off lead...
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
  • Sunyata, puppies are BETTER at recall?

    I am screwed....

  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    @Nahatalie How old is Oki again? Definitely won't "Trust" off lead until they are 1 year old at the minimum. 2 year old is the safest as some Shibas still go through changes.

    Definitely no to offleash if you cant recall them off of something if their prey drive kicks in.

    @BanjoTheBetaDog LOL! she said "generally speaking" Puppies normally have better recall since they depend on you as the "mommy/daddy"

  • NahatalieNahatalie
    Posts: 363
    Thanks for the replies. Oki is 5 months old. If we ever did let him off the lead, I would make every effort to keep up the training. I'm very keen to train him throughout his life.

    (For example he's completed 2 different puppy classes. One was a 6 week course and he passed it fine, the other is a rolling thing and we got got moved from puppy to grade 1 at 4.5 months when it's normally 6 as the trainers said he already does everything required of the puppy class and he looked bored so they moved him up early. He's fine at the recall in class and comes straight to me past a corridor of other dogs, just the outside recall we can't crack! So I'm just highlighting that I'll always take him to training. I know many people complete the puppy class and stop there.)

    Plus we do agility training, I'm hoping that will help as he loves following my directions to do the (puppy appropriate) equipment. The woman who runs the agility said she's going to run a recall class starting in April which we will definitely attend. And there will also be a flat work class starting soon which I want to attend. We'll have to see if I can fit it all in!

    It's so hard...I get sorely tempted to let him go sometimes but I won't. I do want to see him run free eventually!
  • devonmlewisdevonmlewis
    Posts: 182
    This post is really helpful, and brings me back down to earth. Yuki is NOT ready to practice being off of a leash (he needs to learn to play nicely with other dogs, practice recall, etc), and he is not even four months. I will say it's very tempting, as we have vast open spaces here with wetlands, hiking, etc. It will seem as though we're the only people/dog in the space, and then a few dogs will pop up! Also, there's so much wild life here, I wouldn't trust that he'd come back.

    As a side note, that's interesting about the deer. I have never heard of shooting a dog for "harrassing" a deer, although we hear about people threatening to shoot dogs for being on someone's property. We're kind of in our own world up here! haha.
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495

    5 months is still young. Just keep up the training for now and when you're comfortable/confident then you can try.

    As tempting as it is, please keep in mind the safety of your Shiba! When you are ready, I would advise to start small, maybe a secluded park that is away from traffic? Also bring tasty TASTY treats plus a friend/partner to help you.

  • NahatalieNahatalie
    Posts: 363
    Yes, although I'm tempted sometimes, I will not let him go just yet. He is not ready. The more I think about it, the more worried I am about his completely ignoring us if he's busy playing with other dogs.

    He also needs to learn to be more polite when approaching other dogs; when sees another dog he stops stock still infront of it, waits for that dog to move and if it moves towards him he rushes at it, does a quick sniff then starts attempting to mouth, put paws everywhere, chase etc. There's no way I could control that off leash right now. I really don't know where to begin with that!
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
  • omgtainomgtain
    Posts: 68
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
  • Post edited by shibamistress at 2014-03-27 14:24:20

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